Photography By David McClain

Healthy Life

Journey to the Blue Zones

In a new cookbook, the creator of the popular blue zones project—a lifestyle program adopted by southwest florida as a community—leads us back to the colorful cultures that inspired his work.

By now, most of us are familiar with Blue Zones, a term that first appeared in a National Geographic story, in which Dan Buettner identified communities around the world where people routinely live long, healthy lives. In the story, and in subsequent books, the journalist outlined core lifestyle habits—what he called Power of 9 principles—present among the people in the five places. The concept evolved into the Blue Zones Project, with Buettner providing a template that towns, businesses and individuals could follow to implement the principles—from eating more veggies to cultivating friendships. Naples joined the cause in 2015, when NCH Healthcare System launched the Blue Zones Project of Southwest Florida and commited to create an environment that supports the balanced lifestyle. Although the project isn’t all about diet, Buettner recognizes food has a lot to do with how we feel and function. “For most Americans, an entrance ramp for a new lifestyle change is through their mouth,” he says. While working on the blueprint for the project, Buettner revisited the original communities and walked away with the idea for a cookbook that goes beyond recipes. In The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, the author pulls back the curtain to reveal the people and places that inspired his work. “I wanted to harness the culinary genius of the Blue Zones and let people taste what it’s like to live in these places.” The result? A robust roadmap for ba
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